The Things They Learn

The other day, Crappy Baby sat on me and put his arms around me. It was lovely. 

I said:


And he replied:


He loves dung beetles. Says he wants to be a dung beetle for Halloween next year.

He learned about dung beetles (and many other bugs) from the movie Microcosmos. Highly recommend that movie for bug or nature loving kids and adults, the footage is amazing! (It is also available via Netflix streaming, by the way.) And here is the actual Dung Beetle Clip on YouTube so you can see what I’m talking about.  

(Secretly hoping he sticks with this idea for Halloween. How cool would that be? I’ll build him a shiny black beetle shell for his back, he’ll wear black clothing and we’ll cover one of those round plastic pumpkin candy containers with brown paper-mache to make it look like his ball of poop. It would be perfect! Kids this age are fickle though. Who knows what he’ll want to be by then. I’ll probably have to be the dung beetle. Like always.)

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118 Responses to The Things They Learn

  1. He’s lucky he has you for a mother, rather than my bug-phobic self. I can only tolerate fireflies and ladybugs.

  2. Zen Roskelley says:

    My two year old has decided that we like butterflies, ladybugs, roly-polys and worms. We don’t like ants (they bite), skewwy spiders, flies or bees. I can’t wait to watch this on Netflix with him!

  3. ST says:

    What a beautiful moment.

  4. Amber says:

    Your posts always make me laugh ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m expecting my first in September and can’t wait till mine are doing and saying these sorts of things.

  5. Sarah says:

    Love it!! If they love bugs, check out the Minuscule series, they are fantastic. This is one of my favourites –

    It’s worth getting the entire series for all the different buggy excitement!

  6. Bahahahaha!
    Well, that beats him actually pushing poop around… which seems to be my daughter’s peculiar pasttime since we started potty training this week. ::sigh::

  7. neal says:

    I think I want to be a dung beetle for halloween, too. Actually, the next time my wife asks me what the heck I’m doing, I think I’ll say, “I’m a dung beetle, pushing my ball of poop around.” I could get used to that as a catch-phrase at our house. I’m stealing it.

  8. Fickle is definitely a good description. My son was always my “baby bird.” He loved the title, I loved the title. Often he would call me Mommy Bird instead of Mommy. So my grand idea was to have my mom (who sews) make him a feathery, adorable baby bird costume for Halloween! Thank goodness we didn’t end up following through because one day I called him Baby Bird like always and out of the blue, he rejected it. “I’m not a baby bird anymore,” he said. “What are you then?” I asked. “A baby BEAR,” he said. And each day after that it changed to a different animal and he would refuse to be called the animal of the previous day. What was he for Halloween that year? A dinosaur.

  9. Delia says:

    LOL at you’ll probably have to be the dung beetle! Just watched the clip, that is awesome.

  10. My favorite was the year my then one year old had to go as Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. We lived in Japan and no other costumes fit her.

  11. Theresa says:

    My kid loves bugs ….and worms…..[sigh]

    she says worms are “so cute and squishy”…

  12. Laura K says:

    Who wouldn’t love a paper mache poop candy bucket? Seriously? I would give extra candy to that kid.

    • amber says:

      I KNOW, right?! Somebody in our house is going to have to be a dung beetle, there is just no walking away from this plan now.

  13. Kristen says:

    Are there spiders in this movie or just insects? I’d love to watch it, but I really can’t take spider scenes.

  14. Camille says:

    Hahahh, too funny! I will definitely have to put that on my Netflix queue, my daughter loves bugs too.

  15. cassie says:

    My child has dubbed bees ” spicy flies” because the dog ate one and got stung in the mouth. Pretty ingenious. Now if you say the words spicy fly around the dog he goes into hunting mode.

    • amber says:

      That is brilliant!!!

    • Kristie M says:

      Oh my goodness that’s utterly fantastic! Kids day the darndest. Apparently I called spider webs ‘spider weapons’ as a kid. Pretty apt description of you ask me ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Melissa says:

    Crackin’ me up!!! I hope you are considering homeschooling your geniuses. I don’t imagine it’s too easy to find a lot of teachers who appreciates boys’ enthusiasm for rolling poop. lol.

    • amber says:

      We are wandering down that path, yes. But scared shitless.

      • You might want to talk to your son about that condition.

      • Jo says:

        It’s not as hard as you might believe. I was in your shoes three years ago. So far, so good! Today we continued our study of Ben Franklin (reading Ben and Me, and perusing Versailles photos online) and electricity (built series/parallel circuits!)

      • Jennifer Bee says:

        We are just getting into homeschooling. My daughter is just waaaaaaay too into learning outside the box (that is the classroom) to sit in one all day. Talk about squishing creativity. I’m looking into the “unschooling method” that seems to be kinda the way you guys are learning too (based on your posts)… most kids learn this way before the classroom is introduced.

        Love your blog and every post you write… soooo hilarious! You definitely need to make that costume. Would totally rock!! I also would give extra candy to the poop bucket. :o)

  17. lisacng says:

    how. cute. is. he! as long as you don’t mind being the dung! LOL!

  18. Hope Walker says:

    My boys love documentaries and the like (They really love Turtle: The Incredible Journey) and they love bugs. I just added that to my Netflix Queue.

  19. That is HILARIOUS! The clip is funny too! We will def be checking out Microcosmos for some learning fun!

  20. Lorene says:

    We love Microcosmos! Dung beetle with a poop candy container sounds like a winning costume to me!

  21. Kelly says:

    My two sons LOVE beetles, and they are also quite familiar with dung beetles, as well as that documentary. I think having two beetles for Halloween would be awesome!

  22. Amanda says:

    In the end, it doesn’t matter what you plan for them to be for Halloween. It doesn’t matter how much you spend, or that they really really want to be this thing for Halloween, because the day before trick-or-treat, they will change their mind. Then you get to be the freak with the closet full of half-done Halloween costumes, and last minute store-bought ones.

    • Amanda, yours is the voice of bitterness borne of long years of experience. I salute you and your closet of half-finished costumes.

    • Diana says:

      Finish the costumes and sell them on Etsy! My mom made the most beautiful costumes when I was a kid and we actually played in them till they got too small.

  23. Elana says:

    Last week my 18-month old was cuddling in my lap, eating some cheese, when he looked up at me and said “Ah lubv yoooohhhhuuu”. I had a moment of maternal bliss before he looked at his plate and said “Ah lubv cheeeeeeeeeeeese!”

    • amber says:

      My own personal love of cheese rivals my love of other people for sure.

    • Kristie M says:

      When I read the first half of your post my eyes all welled up tears in excitement and hope for when my 2.5month old gets to the age when she can say that. Then I finished ready and I was laughing those tears out something fierce! PERFECT!

  24. Shira says:

    If my kiddo is still refusing to talk by Halloween, he’s being a dung beetle!

  25. Danielle says:

    We love Microcosmos! The snail sex scene gives me the giggles every time I watch it…they set it to music!!

  26. Anne says:

    Wondering if Crappy Mommy might need to be the poop in the costume…Thank you for your fantastic blog!

  27. Nellie says:

    Ha! So cute. When my husband was 5 he was a cockroach for Halloween. ๐Ÿ™‚ Boys are funny!

  28. Jenifer says:

    My son is obsessed with roliepolies. A bunch of his friends are always digging for them at recess. The first time he told me this, I asked him (just for kicks) what is a roliepolie?

    His response (in a five year old “duh, Mom” voice…It’s a POLIE that ROLLS!

    Well, excuuuuuse me! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • amber says:

      Huge amounts of rollie love here too. Our yard is covered with them. They talk to them like friends.

      • Jenifer says:

        I had a friend when I was little who used to take them to church in her little purse. Eeeewwww.

    • Janna says:

      So, forgive the innocence, but…..what IS a rolypolie?

      • Cassandra says:

        Just a cute name for a Pill Bug. Also know as a Potato Bug.

        Cute for kids, bad for gardens.
        But if you wanted to raise one they live about three years.

        Picture here:

        • Linda says:

          Potato bug! That’s what we called them! Then when I was 16 or so, someone said they caught a “potato” bug under a cup, and could someone PLEASE get rid of it! They were SO SCARED of potato bugs! What was under that cup was a “Jerusalem Cricket” – NOTHING like a Pill Bug Roly Poly!!!

  29. Michelle says:

    Hilarious! “Your little dung beetle.” Love it! If he ends up being that for Halloween, you definitely need to post about it.

    • amber says:

      It would be a cool costume. I think this will be another year where he’ll want to be whatever Crappy Boy is which will likely be a knight or any other thing that gives him an excuse to possess weaponry.

  30. Zen Roskelley says:

    Rex (2yo) told me those snails were hugging. LOL! I liked the movie but wish it had been narrated.

    • amber says:

      I wished that too! I love the music and the simplicity of it but I wish there was a mention of what all the bugs were at least.

  31. Jill says:

    This reminds me of my best friend’s little boy. He is fascinated by “stinky bees.” Which, in reality, are stink bugs. He wants to be one for Halloween and I’m pretty sure his Mama already started working on the costume. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  32. Kimberly S. says:

    My 4 year old thinks worms are “SOOOOO Cuuuuuuuute” and even refers to them as his friends. Don’t worry, he does get out and has real human friends too.

    I would love the dung beetle costume, that is so funny and original and weird, all rolled into one.

  33. Jess says:

    My bug obsessed 18mo old loves that movie! The snails sex scene lead to an interesting conversation with my 4 year old. ๐Ÿ™‚
    He also couldnt handle the grasshoppers getting killed scene it made him cry so we have yet to finish the movie

  34. AnnaPK says:

    I am adding that movie to Netflix ASAP. My daughter LOVES bugs!!

  35. Sarah says:

    If your kid loves bugs, I highly recommend “Minuscule”. It’s french, but the bugs are not speaking so everybody understands. My kids LOVE watching Minuscule, especially the ladybug. They also have dung beetles ^^…0.0._Xli2fVlW3Q

  36. Kate says:

    So funny! Ugh. I can’t believe kids are already talking about Halloween… ๐Ÿ™‚


  37. Someone may have said this already, I didn’t read all the comments this time, but I was afraid that he was going to say that he was making you a ball of poop or that you were going to say afterwards that he had made you a ball of poop :p

    My oldest will be 3 in a few weeks & he’s obsessed with bugs, particularly snails. He usually ends up killing them eventually but he lines them up in a parade, puts them in time out when they’re bad & try to run away & wants to take them to the doctor when he cracks their shells lol

  38. Jaime says:


  39. Zeph says:

    My 18 monh old loves to sit in our garden and uses his chubby, little fingers to point out the ants. Then uses his chubby, little fingers to squash the ants, whilst shouting out ‘ANT! ANT!’ triumphantly.
    He squashed an earwig last Sunday.
    But still accompanied the coup de grace with a yell of ‘ANT!’

    Do you have earwigs in USA?

  40. Jenn Stark says:

    We actually have Microcosmos on VHS!! Considering how often it is viewed around our house, we should consider getting it in a more durable format.

  41. Jill says:

    Thanks for the tip! I watched Microcosmos with my kids this afternoon and they LOVED it, especially the dung beetle. In fact, he has been playing dung beetle since.

  42. Yay for moms who encourage entomological interests!

  43. Melissa says:

    so cute! I love how the video you posted is almost 3 minutes long. Just what I want to spend naptime doing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Kim says:

    My kids LOVE that video – I had to rewind the dung beetle 100’s of times, pretend to be his voice, etc. They also love the “dancing” snails LOL

  45. Gloria says:

    I totally want to steal your ding beetle idea because I walked in my son’s last Saturday to get him out of his crib and he handed me a perfectly round baseball sized ball of poo. Until it hit my hand I couldn’t figure out where he got the large rock from…

  46. MamaJen says:

    died laughing. ๐Ÿ™‚
    for a creepy bug check out the doson beetle…. saw one on monday!

  47. Jo says:

    I had a bit of a moment there, I thought you’d been watching us! I said exactly that to my 2yo a little while ago, “Are you my cuddle bug?” But the answer I got was a vehement, “NOT a CUDDLE BUG! I GENEVIEVE!”, complete with arm actions. Ah well, it was a nice cuddle anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. Bobbi Kilbarger says:

    I think you should be the Dung Beetle and dress them up as balls of poop. Then, you could push them around in a stroller! ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. Lesley says:

    I hope he sticks with that idea. I think it would be super cool. My son was a preying mantis last year. It took some time to make, but was a big hit. Much more interesting than the myriad superhero costumes his friends had ๐Ÿ˜‰

  50. Krystina says:

    A few things. first, why did they have to show the bugs having bug-sex?? The ladybugs?? Wow. Second, I thought it was a silent movie (I watched with my 3yo who loved it!) and he did something to the sound and about 20 mins in, he did something else and the sound came back. Third, who can tell me where the spider scenes are? He really wants the spiders, and it’s just not appealing to me to sit through more than an hour of it. 20 mins was bad enough! This momma can do with out the creepy-crawlies!

  51. My sister made a scarab-beetle costume for her toddler one year. Complete with irridescent wings from under the carapace. And those mouth pincer things on her hood. It was super cute, and no one had any idea what she was. “Oh look. What a cute little monster! [my daughter] And… a butterfly?’

  52. Mrs. P says:

    I never realised dung bettles push it around with their back legs! Crazy little creatures!

  53. so we’re watching it again…and this snail scene is just about….uh….can snails be obscene?? LOL

  54. Wendy Irene says:

    Thank you for the movie suggestion! My son would LOVE it! Happy Friday & Weekend!

  55. Diana says:

    I grew up in central Africa where Dung Beetles came out in droves in the rainy season. As a child they were one of my favorite bugs too! Their legs made this crazy squeaky noise when they walk, as if their legs need oiling! I hope your son gets to see on in person some day!

  56. Jennifer says:

    I just wanted to say that I love the new pics on your About Me page!!!!

  57. neo says:

    oh kids. that’s hysterical.

  58. Keeslermom says:

    My son wanted a Madagascar hissing cockroach birthday cake one year. Try ordering that one! I don’t have a dung beetle costume, but I do have an earthworm one!

  59. You MUST dress him as a dung beetle.
    You MUST take hundreds of pictures with his poop ball.
    Then you MUST bring those pictures out again and share them at his wedding.
    Most of us don’t get to dress up our kids as dung beetles. You are one of the lucky ones. DO IT FOR THE REST OF US!!!

  60. E. Rodriguez says:

    Microcosmos is awesome. It’s our bedtime show in this house!

  61. Laura says:

    Thanks for the movie recommendation. We watched it yesterday and my daughter loved it!

  62. Amie says:

    My 5-yr-old son wants to be broccoli for Halloween. He’s described in great detail how his broccoli costume should be made. I’m not going to push it, because I don’t want him to change his mind. I totally want him to be broccoli for Halloween.

    Dung beetle?! You’ve got me beat; that is a super-great future costume.

  63. Paula says:

    Joe Cartoon.

  64. Thank you for the microcosmos rec! We watched the first half yesterday and it was amazing. Surprisingly my boys were grossed out by the dung beetle no matter how much I tried to convince them it was cute ๐Ÿ˜€

  65. Emily says:

    So funny. I will have to share that video with my nephew.

    When he was about three he was learning different family member types and found out, I was his aunt. He looked at me funny and but did not say anything. Later he came to me, I think after asking his Momma if I was really an insect, and told me I was an aunt but not the kind that bites. I replied, “Shows what you know” and chased him around the house trying to nibble on him.

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  68. Microcosmos rocks! I try and get my family to re-watch it all the time!

  69. Bonnie says:

    I just found your blog yesterday and read through the whole thing, love it! I found this movie on netflix and put it on for my girls today and they were thrilled with it, thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  70. Sandie Defina says:

    In February 2007, the company delivered its billionth DVD and began to move away from its original core business model of mailing DVDs by introducing video-on-demand via the Internet. Netflix grew while DVD sales fell from 2006 to 2011.^`-‘

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